By Umar Muhammad Puma
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the non-payment of outstanding compensation of N1.8 billion to 450 poultry farmers affected by Avian Influenza outbreak in the country.
The resolution of the House followed the adoption of a motion under matters of urgent national importance sponsored by Rep. Abdulrazak Namdas (APC Adamawa), Who informed the lawmakers that early last year, poultry farmers in the country suffered the loss of 3, 682, 726 birds as a result of the outbreak of Avian Influnza, popularly called bird flu.
He further disclosed that investigation by the official of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture had not only confirmed the figure of birds depopulated but also put the cost of compensation at N1.8 billion.
“The leadership of the Poultry Farmers Association of Nigeria (PFAN) alongside relevant authorities of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture have met with His Excellency Prof. Yemi Osibanjo when he was then the Ag. President on the matter where he directed the Federal Ministry of Finance to liaise with Ministry of Agriculture to pay the affected farmers.’’
Namdas expressed worry that the joint Committee constituted by the Federal Ministry of Finance and Federal Ministry of Agriculture was said to have sourced the money meant to compensate the farmers already screened but till date none have been paid.
The lawmaker further expressed worry that the farmers along with their employees depend largely on the poultry for their livelihood.
The House therefore, mandated its Committee on Agriculture, Production and Services to investigate and find out why the Ministry of Agriculture and Finance failed to pay the farmers in spite of government directive to do so.
It will report back findings to the house in The motion was unanimously adopted by the members when it was put to vote by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, The committees were giving two weeks to submit their report for further legislative inputs.